Starting at 6AM on February 2nd, eager fans had been camped outside the Van Buren to witness Eric Nam’s first ever concert in Phoenix, AZ. The Before We Begin tour covered parts of the United States and Latin America and showcased hits from his new album titled ‘Before We Begin.’
Opening the show was singer-songwriter Phoebe Ryan. Hailing from New Jersey, she has written for world renowned artists such as Britney Spears, Zara Larrson, and Melanie Martinez to name a few. Prior to joining Eric on his US tour, Phoebe had just wrapped up touring with Carly Rae Jepsen on a 14-city wide tour. Not one to disappoint, Phoebe performed her iconic tracks such as “Dark Side,” “All We Know” ft. The Chainsmokers, and her latest single “ICIMY.” Her soothing voice captivated the crowd. The audience was pumped and ready for Eric to take the stage thanks to Phoebe’s captivating set.
After a 15 minute set change, Eric Nam finally appeared onstage to meet his adoring fans. The Van Buren was one of the many sold out stops on the ‘Before We Begin’ Tour and had fans packed from the general admission floor to the upper mezzanine levels. The set began with his hit song “Come Through,” an English song off of his ‘Before We Begin’ album that had every level of the venue on its feet. Eric was then joined by four male dancers in matching button-up and blue jean attire and showcased his dance moves with his songs, “Poison” and “Don’t Call Me.”
Between songs, Eric would spew out what he termed “random nonsense,” which was basically him sharing random facts with the audience. For example, “Did you know a cow sold in Arizona was sold for $1.3 million dollars?” He then asked the audience what kind of cow it could have been, which led to members of the audience yelling that he is worth $1.3 million dollars, which shocked Eric and he wholeheartedly disagreed. There were also moments when the audience shouted out their own “random nonsense,” like referencing the thirsty tweets Eric once read in a video for BuzzFeed Celeb.
Another moment that stood out was a story Eric shared about his mom. “‘You need to tone down the body rolls. They’re a little too sexy,’” Eric said, quoting a conversation he once had with his mom. As he continued the story, he mentioned that his mom once told him that she was proud of his accomplishments, to which he replied, “Asian moms don’t say that!”
The story particularly resonated with Steven Ventura, an avid fan since 2013 who could relate to the family dynamic. “I loved the story telling,” he shared. “It makes it feel like we get to know the artist a bit better.”
The set continued with “Idea of You,” where Eric leaned over the barricade and sang right beside his fans. Then, he slowed it down with “How’m I Doing,” which perfectly showcased his quality vocals. He continued the mellow atmosphere by singing “Love Die Young,” and everyone was asked to turn on their phone flashlights, illuminating the crowd and making the venue sparkle. Eric ended the set with a solo rendition of one of his biggest hits, “Cave Me In.” This song, usually sung with artists Tablo and Gallant, was easily sung solo by Eric and ended with the audience chiming in with an acapella rendition of the song.
As the concert began to draw to a close, Eric requested a group photo with the audience. He posed in the center and on the sides of the stage to ensure that the entire audience was included. After the photos were done, Eric teased that he was just getting started before jumping into his next song, “Honestly” amidst a roar of screams throughout the Van Buren.
Eric and his team of dancers flawlessly executed each move during the song and the concert drew to a close. Or so we thought. After a few minutes of the crowd’s nonstop chants for Eric, sensation returned onstage performing his hit, “You’re Sexy I’m Sexy.” The final song was the one everyone had been waiting for — “Congratulations.” The singer threw water on the audience and asked everyone to jump to the music, pumping everyone up and keeping the energy as high.
After the concert concluded, a group of VIP ticket holders lined up for a meet and greet with Eric. Kaylin Abney, an Arizona resident, was one of the lucky attendees to experience the meet and greet. Abney stated that she was nervous to meet the performer once she was up next to get her photo taken. “Whenever we had the go-ahead to go up to him and he shook my hand, I was like, ‘Oh man his hand is soft!’”
Melanie Backman, a local fan, reflected on the concert stating that she had an unforgettable experience. “One thing that was really memorable about this experience was the audience. They brought so much energy!” She had previously been to an Eric Nam concert and stated that this was, by far, the best one yet. “I was fine going to LA to see him the first time, but being able to see him so close to home was amazing! Hopefully this experience was as great for him as it was for me and he knows how much Phoenix loves him!” Backman said.
Eric’s concert was an absolute experience from beginning to end. From the energy on stage, to the fantastic fan service, this is an artist who genuinely loves what he does and it showed in every aspect of his performance. The Before We Begin tour is one that should not be missed, whether in the United States or Latin America, don’t pass this one up.
Written and photographed by: Kayla C.